Cycling Ups and Downs


My husband and I are training for Ragbrai, a bicycle ride across Iowa. It is not a race, but a ride. It starts on the western edge of Iowa where bikers dip their back tires into the Missouri River and then ride for 7 days averaging 65 miles a day until they can dip their front tires into the great Mississippi river on the eastern edge of Iowa. This ride is well-known throughout my home state and each town is welcoming only in the way that Iowa can be. Alongside the paved road, you can count on a farmer offering you fruits from his field at his roadside stand. He will be dressed in overalls and wearing a John Deer cap to protect his eyes from the sun. He will hand you corn on the cob from his rough and weathered hands. He will not ask for payment, because he will be so proud of what he has grown. I am looking forward to this ride, because I will get to experience so many things I experienced growing up, I will get to ride with friends and family, and I will get to eat sweet corn for 7 days straight.

As you can imagine, it is going to be a challenge to manage my sugars for the week. Which is why we decided to ride 60 miles yesterday to prepare. We have done plenty of 20, 30, and 40 miles rides, but have yet to reach 60. We decided to ride up the Green Bay Trail which runs along the metra tracks from Evanston all the way up to the border of Wisconsin. The day started out well; we arose early and I was at 129. I lowered my temp basal to 50% for 4 hours at 6:45am in preparation for the day. At 7:00am, I ate a breakfast of oatmeal, milk and blueberries. I bolused for the oatmeal and milk. At 7:25, we started off and by 7:45 the cgms was reading 189 with two up arrows. A few minutes later 209 and still climbing. WTF! I was so angry. I didn't want to bolus, because I was cycling all day and didn't want to bottom out. Why was it going up? Jeez! I'm riding my bike, it should be going down. Of course, a half hour later those arrows flipped 180 degrees and my blood sugar came flying down to 139 with down arrows at which point I started gulping gatorade. This was not how I wanted to start the day. Why did that happen? Did I over do it? Perhaps lowering my basal was enough for the beginning of the ride and I should have taken my complete bolus for breakfast.

We continued on mile after mile along the trail and my blood sugar had stabilized and remained steady. We stopped for lunch and then decided to ride home, about 17 miles. A half hour into the ride back, I was at 71, so I gulped some gatorade. That seemed to have no effect, so I drank some more. I continued drinking the entire hour and half back home until I had emptied the large bottle (almost 60carb), only to end up at 60. Once again, I was frustrated. Why did I get so low now? Well, remember when I set my temp basal for 4 hours? This ride took 6 hrs and the last two I was riding at 100% of my basal rate. ugh. Can I have a chocolate chip cookie now? I think I earned it.

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